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Ultimate Fantasy World Juniors Mock Draft Shows Depth of Talent, Potential Strategies

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

A dynasty league for the World Juniors is a novel concept. It’s never been done before and certainly never on the level envisioned by Ultimate Franchise Fantasy Sports.

With the UFWJ Franchise Auction upon us this weekend — starting Saturday at noon ET and ending Sunday at 8 p.m. ET — this revolutionary league is on the verge of becoming a reality for the 2022 tournament that begins on Boxing Day (Dec. 26, 2021), mirroring the IIHF World Junior Championship with 10 franchises drafting 25-man rosters, plus 5-man protected lists for future years to emphasize the dynasty element.

Those draft strategies are going to be fascinating — as will the creativity of franchises branding as unique countries with flags and uniforms — for the Ultimate Fantasy World Juniors. The Inaugural Draft is slated for Dec. 19, following selection camps and as the WJC countries are finalizing their rosters through pre-tournament exhibitions, but it is never too early to start mocking the potential results.

Since this is new and innovative, it’s tough to predict how UFWJ franchises will approach the draft. Some will be looking to win now by selecting the best players available — with gold, silver and bronze medals up for grabs, along with player awards — while others will have an eye for the future by prioritizing their protected list and targeting prospects that can return for multiple tournaments. For the protected list, franchises can go as young as 2024 eligibles, which is the current UFFS scouting cutoff — always three years out from the NHL draft. That class is born in 2006, while the WJC is primarily a 19-year-old tournament, thus starring 2002-born prospects that were drafted last year. So that offers a five-year range of eligibility for UFWJ franchises and they can select their protected list players in any of the 30 rounds, adding further intrigue in terms of draft strategies.

With this initial mock draft, UFFS director of hockey scouting Larry Fisher went 11 rounds deep to showcase the talent available for top-six forwards, top-four defenders and starting goaltenders. The first six rounds were focused on starting lineups — three forwards, two defenders and one goaltender — but UFWJ franchises won’t have to follow that script for the Inaugural Draft in selecting a total of 14 forwards, 8 defenders and 3 goaltenders for this year’s tournament, plus 5 prospects of any position for their protected list. Those are the necessary totals but franchises can fill out their rosters in any fashion — they could take all their forwards before taking any defenders, if they so desired. And their protected list could be comprised strictly of forwards without any defenders or goaltenders.

Regardless of roster construction, the later rounds will make a world of difference — drafting the right depth players, including the revelations and breakout sensations, will determine the medal contenders. Every franchise will feature a quality core — as evidenced by this mock — but those hidden gems and unsung heroes could put a franchise over the top and onto the podium. This league ensures every player competing in the WJC will have value, so if a fourth-liner from Austria happens to score or Switzerland’s third-string goalie somehow posts a shutout, one of the UFWJ franchises will be celebrating!

Now that the picture has been painted, let’s proceed with the fun of a fresh canvas for every franchise in this 11-round UFWJ Mock Draft — selecting 110 of the 300 players that will be picked in the Inaugural Draft before recapping the results for the UFWJ franchises as well as the WJC countries.


Franchise Results By Draft Order

Franchise 1

Matvei Michkov – F, Russia

Owen Power – D, Canada

Kent Johnson – F, Canada

Kaiden Guhle – D, Canada

Juraj Slafkovsky – F, Slovakia

Leevi Merilainen – G, Finland

Martin Chromiak – F, Slovakia

Jan Mysak – F, Czech Republic

Adam Fantilli – F, Canada

Eemil Viro – D, Finland

Wyatt Kaiser – D, USA